IslamQA

Answers to questions on Islamic topics. Ask a Question.

Why do people get jealous?

Why do people get jealous? Also, how can I protect myself from nazar (evil eye)?

Humans have a natural tendency to feel unhappy when they see someone who enjoys blessings much greater than they enjoy themselves. Some people are not pious enough to fight this tendency, so they feel a strong desire for the blessed person to lose the blessing and wish bad things to happen to them.

The evil eye is not mentioned in the Quran, so I do not consider it important enough to be worth worrying about. The best protection would be to read the Quran daily. Chapter 113 of the Quran contains a prayer against envious people, so you can try to memorize it and recite it when you feel any worry about envy and the evil eye:

Say, “I take refuge with the Lord of Daybreak.

From the evil of what He created.

And from the evil of the darkness as it gathers.

And from the evil of those who practice sorcery.

And from the evil of an envious when he envies.”

How do you pray for someone who is ill?

How do you pray for someone who is ill? Also, how do you pray for someone who has to go through surgery?

You can say anything you want. There is no need for special words. Below is a prayer from the Prophet PBUH:

Narrated `Abdul `Aziz:

Thabit and I went to Anas bin Malik. Thabit said, "O Abu Hamza! I am sick." On that Anas said, "Shall I treat you with the Ruqya of Allah's Messenger (ﷺ)?" Thabit said, "Yes," Anas recited, "O Allah! The Lord of the people, the Remover of trouble! (Please) cure (Heal) (this patient), for You are the Healer. None brings about healing but You; a healing that will leave behind no ailment."

Sahih al-Bukhari 5742

Below is the Arabic transliteration of the prayer:

allāhumma rabba al-nās mudhhiba al-bās ishfi anta al-shāfī la shāfiya illā anta, shifāʾan la yughādiru saqman

It is permitted for Muslim women to work in the police force and the army

Asalam Walikum, Are women joining the military haram? If so, why?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

According to a fatwa issued by al-Azhar University, it is permitted for women to work in the police force and the army. There are examples of women working in the army during the time of the Prophet PBUH. They mainly worked as nurses but sometimes they also joined the fighting.

Women face a high risk of sexual harassment and rape in the army from what I have read, for this reason it is best if Muslim women avoid army jobs that require constant unsupervised mixing with soldiers. Secretarial, nursing and technical jobs in the army would be the best choice. It is not a clear-cut issue between halal and haram; people should use their own judgment in deciding whether the work environment is safe enough and reputable enough for a Muslim woman to work there. It also changes from woman to woman; some women are physical much stronger than others and have a dominant personality. Such women can easily avoid and counter abusive men, while physically weaker and more submissive women may not be able to do so.

Sources:

On being constantly scared of death and being hurt as a Muslim

Assalam Alaykum Lately I’ve been thinking of all the bad stuff that can happen to one. You could die any minute or get hurt doing something or you could get hurt by someone evil, auzubillah.. This have made me very scared and sad. Do you have dua protection? And advice for me, always scared, almost never going outside.

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

I recommend reading the Quran daily until you attain faith in the fact that everything is in God’s hands and that nothing will befall you unless He allows it. It is a sign of a weakness in faith if you are scared of death or disasters. If you knew that God is completely in charge of the universe then the only thing you would be scared of would be His being displeased with you.

You cannot maintain a strong faith unless you do enough work every day to stay close to God, and the best type of work is to read the Quran (I recommend an hour a day ideally), so I hope this is what you will do and inshaAllah you will get many benefits from it.

The best prayers for protection as far as I know are the last two chapters of the Quran.

Best wishes.

Fasting in the month of Rajab

Salaam, do you have any information on whether we should fast during the month of Rajab? I tried to Google and found conflicting information. Thank you!

The mainstream opinion is that fasting in Rajab is like fasting in any other month. There is a weak narration that says fasting in Rajab was disliked by the Prophet PBUH, but since it is not authentic it cannot be relied on. Imam Aḥmad b. Ḥanbal disliked fasting in this month, for this reason the Ḥanbalī school considers it disliked to fast in this month. But the rest of the schools do not share this opinion.

Source:

Gender dysphoria in Islam

(1) Greetings. I have been following your blog and are fascinated by your wisdom in viewing life through Islamic lenses, but does not fail to be logical. I am a Muslim young woman in her mid-twenties and am thinking to be a transgender, because ever since I was little I sometimes thought myself as a male in a female's body. Also, I'm boyish. I know that Allah is Never wrong, but why is this feeling and thoughts exist? I just thought about this recently. What do you think of my consideration?

(2) The reason why I felt so is because I've always been leaned towards boyish things; clothes, hobbies, preferences, etc. I'm rarely consider myself girly, but the only time I become self-conscious and consider myself a girl is when my emotions burst upfront. I'm a feeler person. I rarely fall in love with boys/men, but I openly confess to my best friend that I love her and if only I'm a male, I would marry her. What should I do? That's all and thank you very much for your time.

(3) Also, I've never had any complain as a woman, it's just I imagine myself more comfortable if I were a man. I know that my feelings will never justify my wish to be a transgender, but I just wanted to spill this and you are the only person on earth I know would not judge me for saying such taboo things. I'm fully aware that Islam prohibits sex reassignment surgery and such to change one's gender. I don't mean to act ungrateful towards God. I just wanted your opinion and solution to this.

(4) Lastly, if what I question previously are not allowed in Islam, then can a Muslim woman also be a boyish or tomboy in looks and character? (I'm a hijabi and I wear abaya, by the way.) Is it not allowed or is frowned upon? Thank you so much for putting up with my questions patiently. May Allah Reward you and your family with an abundance of virtue and Paradise.

Assalamu alaikum,

There is no surprise in some women feeling boyish and some men feeling feminine. These things are determined by hormones and brain structures, which are strongly affected by genes and by the gestational environment (the hormones you are exposed to in your mother’s womb). Think of your condition as similar to someone being born blind or with another disability. These things happen.

The reason why God allows it to happen is that God wishes the universe to operate in a way that makes sense and that allows humans to have the choice of both believing and disbelieving in Him. If everything went perfect and nothing went wrong in our universe we would know that there is a God caring for it. But by hiding Himself from us and allowing the universe to function in a seemingly scientific way, God allows us to have the choice of belief and disbelief. I discuss this in my essay on reconciling Islam and Darwinian evolution and my essay on why God allows evil to exist and why bad things happen to good people.

My advice is to accept yourself as you are. There is nothing wrong with feeling boyish in your heart since that is something you did not choose for yourself. But my advice is also to accept what Islam asks of you as a woman. This too is something you did not choose, but accepting it opens the way for salvation for you in the real life that is to come, while rejecting it may give you some satisfaction in this life at the cost of God’s mercy in the afterlife.

The Prophet PBUH strongly spoke against men who dress like women and women who dress like men. So it would be best if you maintain a female appearance. As for having boyish interests and manners, then that is fine as long as you do not act in a way that goes against Islam or scandalizes people.

I recommend waiting patiently. One day you may meet a man whom you find attractive and who likes you the way you are.

Best friends and soulmates

Brother, is there such thing as a best friend? I'm the type of person who thinks that I only allow myself one best friend, but after a few failed friendships, I'm starting to believe such thing never actually exist. Was it because my previous failed friendships? And also, is it true that soulmate can be in a form of a best friend? Thank you very much for listening and hopefully responding to me.

A best friend is just a good friend that you prefer over your other friends. Some people believe that soulmates are assigned from birth. My own view is that all souls can be soulmates if they are pure and selfless. There is no reason why a best friend cannot be a soulmate.

Islam and meditation

Salam, please what is your opinion about meditation and the fact to practise it to open his mind to spirituality? El salat look like meditation, isn't it? i also took some seconds during my salat to take a big breath just before i finish (before el teslima) like in meditation, i hope there is no a problem with this?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

As long as the meditation is not mixed with un-Islamic beliefs then I see nothing wrong with it. What is forbidden is to believe that anything besides God has supernatural powers. Meditation practices like Zen-style ones can be done without any un-Islamic elements (as you long as you avoid the Buddhist elements) since the point is to clear your mind of distracting thoughts.

I also do not see anything wrong with taking deep breaths during the prayer. It is true that the prayer can thought of as a form of meditation, in fact in my following I essay I speak of tahajjud as meditation:

Mysticism without Sufism: A Guide to Tahajjud, Islam’s Meditation Practice

Sources:

Islam and telepathy

Assalamualaikum brother, What does Islam have to say about mental telepathy? Is it true? Can you tell me more about it?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

There is nothing on telepathy on the Quran. I have also not seen any hadiths that mention it. I have, however, heard stories of Sufi sheikhs who were sometimes able to communicate telepathically with people close to them. It is said that it was a miracle granted to them for their extreme piety.

Where to start learning about Islam

My parents tried their best but, I feel like they could've done more to teach me Islam. Where can I seek Islamic knowledge from? I want to start from the beginning and learn more from my previous knowledge.

Start by reading the Quran daily. If you do not speak Arabic, read a good translation like the Abdel Haleem one. Then read beginners’ books on Islam, such as Being Muslim by Asad Tarsin. You can also read books of Islamic history and Prophetic biography, such as Muhammad: His Life Based on the Earliest Sources.

You can also check out my books The Way of the Spiritual Muslim, The Sayings of Ibn Qayyim al-Jawzizyya and The Sayings of Ibn al-Jawzi. These books contain extremely beneficial Islamic spiritual teachings. The last two books are available for free on my website, you can find their links at the top of my site.

Another highly beneficial book is Misquoting Muhammad by Jonathan Brown (a convert to Islam). This book will help you understand the issues surrounding hadith authenticity.

Best wishes.

Where to start your repentance after committing many sins

I have committed so many sins, its countless. Where should I start? I feel close to god and I have asked for forgiveness, but I feel so guilty about every sin I have committed. What can I do?

Repent sincerely and start from there. If you have done wrong to people, try to make things right. Start reading the Quran daily and asking God for His forgiveness during every prostration in every prayer. And in this way you will be on your way toward God’s mercy and forgiveness inshaAllah.

Please also see my essay: God has not abandoned you

Protecting yourself from giving yourself the evil eye

How can you protect yourself from giving yourself nazar (evil eye)?

Since the evil eye is never mentioned in the Quran, I do not consider it important enough to worry about. As far as I know there are no authentic hadith narrations that deal with the possibility of giving oneself the evil eye, and I do not know if that is even possible because the evil eye is thought to be related to envy. Unless you envy yourself so much that you wish for your own blessings to be taken away, you probably shouldn’t worry about the giving yourself evil eye.

The difference between a woman’s mani, mazi and wadi

Salaam. Pardon me for asking this, for it's heading towards women privacy, but I had to ask. How to tell between wadi, mazi, and mani from women? Thank you very much for your time reading and answering this question. Jazakallah khayr.

Manī (ejaculate) is a liquid that sometimes comes out with orgasm and smells like egg whites. The ejaculating of manī necessitates ghusl (showering), whether it happens when asleep or awake. If it is caused to ejaculate on purpose (through masturbation), it invalidates the fast.

Madhī (vaginal muscus) is secreted during sexual arousal. It does not require ghusl, but it nullifies ablution and it should be cleaned away. It has no effect on one’s fast. If it falls on clothing, the spot should be cleaned.

Wadī is said to be a white discharge (coming from the urethra if I understand correctly) that sometimes happens after urination and is treated the same as urine. It does not necessitate ghusl and has the same rulings as urine.

Sources:

Can a Muslim work at a place that serves pork or alcohol?

can i work at a cafe that serves food that may have pork in it? like if someone were to cook it and I would serve it? or that also serves alcohol if I am not serving the alcohol myself? or washing dishes that contain pork/alcohol? would the money from this job be haram?

The general rule is that it is forbidden to work at a place that sells or serves pork or alcohol, whether as a waiter, cook or dishwasher.

An exception can be made for someone who cannot find any other job and who has no other source of income. Such a person can work at such a place until they are able to find another option.

Sources:

The rule on writing sexually explicit materials in Islam

Assalamu Alaikum brother, I just wanted to ask if u have any advice how writers or artists can avoid 'fahisha' in their work. When I write fiction I avoid writing about Islam bc I don't want to mix that which is made up with the truth. At the same time I don't want to represent lewd ideas in my writing but since that is a grey area I dont know how to go about it.

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

One rule of thumb is to ask yourself if you would be ashamed to read what you wrote in front of your family and other Muslims you respect. If you think they would find it shocking and unacceptable, then that is a strong indication that you should change it. However, sometimes people find something unacceptable just because they cannot fully understand it. So think of an imaginary pious Muslim who is as intelligent and well-educated as yourself. Would they consider your creation wholesome and justified or questionable? If you are not sure about a certain passage or story, show it to someone whose opinion you respect and find out what they have to say about it.

So there are no strict rules on this. Sometimes you have to write about seemingly lewd things to make a beneficial point. Check out the chapter on Islam and sexuality in my new book An Intelligent Person’s Guide to Understanding Islam and Muslims to get an idea about how a Muslim can write about sexually explicit topics (you can download it for free here).

How to know which scholarly opinions to follow in Islam

assalamu aleikum, how can I know whether I'm following a certain Islamic opinion due to my personal preferences/ because it seems less extreme to me Or if I am just thinking logically?Jazak Allah Khairun

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

You cannot practice Islam without using your own judgment. Even if you only follow the opinions of respected scholars, you still often have to choose between the opinions of one scholar and another. Your duty is to make a best effort to figure things out by following the scholars who seem to make the most sense and who seem to represent the spirit of the Quran most accurately.

I recommend reading the Quran daily and basing your thinking on that. The Quran is your guide and the scholars are your teachers. Try to take the best from everyone and try to constantly increase your knowledge so that you can better judge things for yourself.

Should you wear the hijab before homosexual women?

Is it wrong for girls who wear the hijab to show their hair in front of girls who are homosexual? Would it be a big deal (as it becomes a sin) if they called me pretty and all those compliments?

The purpose of dress codes in Islam is to take sexuality out of public interactions so that men and women can interact without either sex having reason to sexually admire the other sex. Based on this, we can draw the analogy that it would be best if women wear the hijab in front of women who are likely to sexually admire them.

Also note that most scholars are of the opinion that Muslim women should wear the hijab before non-Muslim women, as discussed in this answer.

How a Muslim should fight the harmful influences of Western movies, shows and music

Hello. Do you have any advice for someone who is struggling with faith? I am a Muslim Arab girl, but being constantly exposed to western movies, shows, music and their general detachment from God and religion is really starting to shake my faith. Please help.

Hello,

Your faith will only be as strong as the amount of work that you put in it. I recommend dedicating a certain amount of time daily to reading the Quran (I recommend an hour for those who are able). If you do not dedicate time to worship and remembrance of God, you will invariably feel distant from God and go under harmful influences. But if you hold tight to the Quran and dedicate time to it daily, then you will be able to easily overcome harmful influences.

Best wishes.

Public interactions between the sexes in Islam

Salaam. Would you explain why in some Islamic sources that men and women should not be allowed to be together alone or mixed in some places or situations (e.g. markets, streets, or party, meetings, etc.)? I was studying Islam and they try to apply this in real life, only to be resulted as when the men and women in the same jama'a met, they interacted minimally (as to prevent further unnecessary interaction) yet came across as awkward to my observation. Your thoughts, please? Jazakallahu khayr.

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

There are no strict rules on the mixing of men and women in Islam in public. The one strict rule is that a marriageable man and woman should not spend private time together unless there are others present. Each culture does things in its own way. The awkwardness usually comes from people of different cultures meeting and not knowing what level of interaction the other person is used to. But when it comes to Muslims of the same culture (as in people of the same village), then public interactions can be very comfortable and lack awkwardness.

In large cities where most people are strangers and come from different cultures, devout Muslims often choose to do what is “safest”, which is to keep interactions to a minimum, and this leads to awkwardness. I don’t know if there is a solution for this. In the United States when interacting with Muslim women I do my best to avoid eye contact, while back in my home town in the Middle East, since I speak the same “cultural language” as the women I meet, I have to follow different rules. My female relatives and neighbors there would find it strange and even insulting if I do not look directly at them when interacting.

So Islam has very little to say on the way public interactions should take place between men and women. If you read a Victorian novel and note how the men and women interact in public, their behavior is often perfectly “Islamic”. The point is to avoid sexually objectifying people of the opposite sex and to avoid situations where lust could become a factor. Apart from that we are free how we interact.

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